Vilnius no longer considers the minorities like the Russians or Belarusians as the main threat. The main enemy is – Chinese phones.
Lithuania has been in political and diplomatic conflict with Beijing for several months. This year Vilnius left the 17 + 1 format (countries of Central and Eastern Europe and China) and then permitted the Taiwanese representative office in its country. Similar institutions are located in many European countries, but they use the name “Taipei”, which is acceptable to China. Lithuania used the word “Taiwan”, which annoys China. In response, Beijing began to curtail the transit of its goods through Lithuanian ports. This is a blow to the country’s economic interests, which is affecting the Lithuanians. However, the Lithuanian government is counting on Washington, which has publicly supported the anti-Chinese course of Vilnius. Lithuania is a transit country and is heavily dependent on Chinese shipping.
This has not deterred Lithuania and has begun targeting the Chinese smartphone sales in the country. “We recommend that you do not buy new Chinese phones and get rid of the already purchased ones as soon as possible,” said Deputy Minister of Defense of Lithuania Margiris Abukevičius. The “telephone war” is gaining momentum and now making news.
So why did the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense take up arms against Chinese smartphones, choosing Xiaomi products for the attack primarily?
Smartphones from Xiaomi is suspected of using censorship. Vilnius says it managed to uncover a “Chinese conspiracy”. It turns out that phones shipped to Europe will have the function of detecting and blocking slogans such as “Long live Taiwan independence” or “Free Tibet”. The list of forbidden phrases and sentences is said to contain 449 phrases. The Lithuanian enthusiasts “discovered” that the blocking is international as it applies to “all countries using Xiaomi products.” However, the investigation showed that no censorship has taken place. Still, Vilnius says that there is a possibility that it can be remotely activated. Some argue that the blocked phrases are for Chinese characters and not other languages.
Responding to a Polish portal, Xiaomi claimed that its devices “do not censor communication”, which applies to typed and sent content. The company also “has never and will not restrict or block any personal activities of our smartphone users, such as searching, making calls, browsing the web or using third-party messaging software.” However, this is unlikely to convince Vilnius.